Reference Behavior Patterns


I spent some time with Bill Harris yesterday. We talked for a good while about Data360 and Bill’s work. Bill has a consulting business whose focus is on systems dynamics and systems modeling, as well as group facilitations over the internet. Per Bill’s blog,, “Bill Harris founded Facilitated Systems in 1999 to help people by helping the organizations in which they spend so much of their time. He uses a number of approaches to help them make sense of the puzzles and problems organizations face.” See below part of Bill’s write-up on Data360. For the full write-up, click here.

Reference behavior patterns and Data360

One of the aspects of defining a problem that plays out over time is to capture a “reference behavior pattern” (RBP). That’s simply a graph of key variables over time. Drawing the graph of the RBP may help you spot patterns instead of just seeing events. It may remind you to consider a longer time horizon than you had originally conceived, making it easier to detect any pattern that might be present. It “draws a line in the sand,” ensuring that your problem-solving activity is focused on a specific problem with specific data, thus keeping you from wandering off course. It’s a fundamental start to system dynamics modeling.

Where do you get data for your RBP? If you think it involves public data, check out Data360, one of several new sites dedicated to aggregating and delivering up data on demand.

Tom Paper generously gave me a tour of Data360 yesterday. As he described Data360, it’s a tool we can use to create balanced scorecards of, well, anything we’re interested in.


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